Monthly Archives: May 2013

The Birth of a WordPress Blog…Pitocin Please

I don’t even know how to put my own image across the top of my blog.

I’m certain there’s a video in some, easy to find section.

I don’t know how to just look at my blog…without the bells & whistles…Like a reader would; assuming readers actually, one day, show up.

I’ve been told there are tips and tricks to getting seen on WordPress to acquire a massive following. Right now, I’m really just looking for a small table of friends to chat with.

I’m a grand total of 8 posts into WordPress Blogging and I have no rhyme or reason as of yet.

I distinctly remember being the new kid at school. The most awkward of moments occurred over salisbury steak & chocolate milk at lunchtime. Tray in hand I would begin my walk into the sea of empty seats that might not actually be empty.

I just wanted to belong.

I’d ask if the seat was taken and, given the right response be it verbal or body language I would sit. I learned an important skill towards being allowed into a group…Be interested.

My desire here on WordPress is not to get you to like me with my wit & good looks (Lord knows I’d need a more effective strategy.) I simply want to join the conversation.

For now, that’s what I’ll do…So don’t mind the awkward guy clicking on the ‘Freshly Pressed’ button and meandering through the many eclectic conversations happening in this lunchroom of words. It can be quite loud & awkward at times.

I’m just looking for folks who are saying something meaningful.

Thanks for letting me sit around your table for these few, brief minutes. Thanks for listening. I really do appreciate it.

-The New Kid

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A Most Dangerous Facebook Post

Be careful what you post on Facebook.  I realize on the surface you are dismissing that first sentence as obvious but I encourage you to look at it from a different angle for a few minutes. 

Words are powerful.  They have the power to bring both Life & Death.  God used words to bring about His creation in Genesis & his son used words to give up His life as a ransom for many, “It is finished.”

Last week, I underestimated the power of words. In a brief moment of availability and obedience I posted the following to my Facebook wall:

 “If you are struggling or hurting right now, would like someone to chat with & are available to go grab some lunch please send me a direct message. I don’t know who this status update is intended for but I’m confident that God will sort it out.”

 What has happened since that moment in time can only be described as ridiculous.  Turns out, when you obediently offer to wrap your life into the midst of others, ministry is bound to occur.

 What’s particularly intriguing is that most of the event of these last 9 Days were not a ‘direct’ result of that request but, rather, orchestrated by God himself.  I did enjoy a fabulous lunch & very intentional conversation with a group of 3 young people as a result of that specific post but it seems, when you rub the magic lamp of ministry, much more happens.

 The very same day I posted that I lost a good friend in a motorcycle accident.  He was a fiery & passionate young man I knew from my years in youth ministry.  How sad, I thought as I began to mourn. Then, I got the call. They wanted me to do his funeral.  WHAT?!? I’m retired from that……

 While my mind was wrapping itself around the death of T.J. I learned that another young man, Alex, from my days as both a teacher and a youth pastor had been killed in a motorcycle wreck.

 His funeral was yesterday. I could almost hear the hearts breaking as clenched fists & teeth fought death with the light of the promises of Christ.  There is MUCH ministry to do.

 This has been a rough week. 

 T.J.’s funeral was actually one of the most powerful ministry moments I’ve ever had the blessing of being involved in.  To stand before that room of grief & hopelessness and inject life & eternity into them was what I was made to do.  The words flowed & the spirit led.  Just how I like it.

 My angst now arises from my desire to do God’s Will.  While I feel like He is guiding me towards full-time ministry I can’t be certain.  Sometimes, I wish there was a script I could follow.

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I believe this journey is set to take a turn.

I’m as ready as I’m gonna’ get!

A Beginner’s Guide to Being Mentored

When I was young I used to dream that I would meet either a karate expert or a multi-billionaire through some random chance meeting. He would notice me, see the diamond within my rough exterior and throw himself at my feet for a chance to ‘teach me everything he knew’.  I’d begrudgingly accept his offer of a lifetime of servitude and he would begin to unravel the mysteries of life, business , self-defense & women to me over coffee every Tuesday for the next 30 years.

Well, I’ve made it through 38 Winters so far and I’ve yet to be offered any such deal.  I have, however,  had the opportunity to be mentored periodically over the years by some amazing leaders, so I figured I’d share a basic framework if you ever shared the same dream of being intentionally mentored. 

Mentors are a rare find.  But I believe they are so recluse simply because they’re seldom asked.  I’ve been asked to be a mentor several times in my life…. Some were successful experiences while others, not so much.  None were wasted.

 While it is wise to learn from experience, it is wiser to learn from the experiences of others. If you honestly desire to have another person pour into your life I would keep the following five factors in mind.  This is not a formula for success but, rather, guideposts to ensure a more productive,  fulfilling experience for both the mentor & the mentee.

 Find a Mentor-

There are certain people in life that we simply ‘connect’ with for lack of a better word.  Note, I did not say ‘get-along’ with or share common interests with.  Right now there are individuals in your life who have already landed precisely where you are aiming.  They’ve paid the price. They’ve earned the scars. If you don’t currently admire someone in this  regard you probably have a humility problem.

 Your first step is to identify who that is in your life now and write down what exactly you would want from them if you had the opportunity to be mentored by them personally. 

I advise you at this point to take the cloak of mystery off of whatever you imagine this process to look like.  Remove the movie roles depicting mentorship right now because you’re life lasts longer than 2.5 hours! Oftentimes, mentorship simply looks like a weekly/monthly appointment over coffee (YOUR treat) where you interview them about their past experiences and share what your desires & actions have been.  The mentoring process & specifics will evolve over time, but not if you keep putting it off and never begin!

 Get their Permission-

Mentoring is not a simple task.  It requires you to become vulnerable and allow another human being (potentially a future competitor) to inspect your past, present & future.   It is one thing to invite someone over to your home…it is quite another to allow them access to the most personal places of that home.  Not all leaders are ready or willing to take on this task.  It is vital that, if their answer is ‘No,’  you are ok with that.

If you have your expectations clearly outlined & eloquently articulated (ie Find a Mentor) however, they will be more apt to work with you.  A mentor’s time is valuable, always treat it as such. Knowing exactly what you want and having a plan automatically separates you from the pack.

Settle on the Conditions-

A mentoring experience is not a marriage.  It is wise to clearly establish when/where your mentoring sessions will be held.  Further, I highly advise this relationship to have an agreed upon start & end date.  The longevity does not matter near as much as the fact that there is an agreed upon completion to your requirement of them. 

During my time in ministry I adopted a policy early on where volunteers would commit to a ‘season of ministry’.   Oftentimes, I find that leaders make the mistake of volunteering for something that does not have a clearly established end date.  Doing so then requires a person to do one of 2 things…1. Quit aka Fail OR 2. Burn out and become bitter. 

Establishing an agreed upon stop date allows both of you to assess the effectiveness of the relationship & extend it if you wish.

Also, be absolutely certain you share the same values as your mentor.  They will be guiding you and offering advice with the expectation (not the condition) that you will be following through.  If you see the world through different lenses in regards to ethics & social mores your relationship may not end well.

 Set up Camp-  

Requesting someone to open up their life to you is no small thing. It is absolutely vital that you always take the role of respectful student during this process.  A mentor is not merely a “head nodder.”  If what you are looking for is encouraging affirmations & pats on the back then just keep regularly visiting grandma and collecting ‘likes’ on Facebook by posting all the amazing things you’re gonna’ do…one day..ya’ know…in the future.  Mentorship is all about honest feedback & correction. If you are the type of person who goes ballistic whenever someone disagrees with you on social media then mentoring may not be for you quite yet.  While you certainly will never be required to do everything exactly as your mentor requires I would suggest you do almost everything.  An honest question for you to ask is simply this: 

-If I trusted this person enough to be my mentor in the first place why won’t I just step up and trust them now?

Possible answers: You chose the wrong mentor OR You don’t want to be where they are in life as much as you once thought you did which is fine.  You’d rather correct course now when you have less ocean between you and the port you set sail from.

Serve your Mentor-

If you are looking for greatness or success in life you will find the answer wrapped in verbs and sincere gratefulness:  Find a way to serve the many!

In my years of ministry, as a father, husband & full-time network marketer I have found that people love to be appreciated & served.  What this looks like in your particular mentor/mentee relationship will be different as it is in every relationship you currently have, but it will be just as vital.  Some very basic acts of appreciation should include but not be limited to:

-Show up on time every time

-Confirm your appointment 24 hrs in advance & communicate any delays that may occur

-Take notes of what they share EVERYTIME they speak

-Pay for their coffee/dinner

-Give them credit whenever you post or share something they shared with you

-Give them a gift at the scheduled end of your mentoring experience

Keep in mind, that every mentoring experience is unique.  To rely solely on the ideas above would probably result in less than stellar results. 

Have YOU experienced a time when you were mentored or were a mentor?  What was your experience like? Why do you feel it was successful or unsuccessful?

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A Pastor Revisited .. or.. Inconvenient Thoughts

If I had my way I’d enter back into the ministry willingly without having to be forced into it.

 Now, if I could just…

-Avoid the call I have to make to that mourning mother…

-Put off returning that missed call from my ‘Father in the Faith’….

-Delay sending that reply to that seeking, young man who said he needs Jesus, then MAYBE I’d have time to really think about what God wants me to do!

 Yesterday, I was thinking about what it would take for me to take a step back into the ministry.  For months (years) I’ve been avoiding my calling by wrapping it with noble pursuits…

-It’s time for me to step up & provide for my family. 

-I can finally be the daddy who never misses a field trip!

-I’m inspiring leaders and have a platform to impact 1,000’s

 And while all of these noble pursuits may accumulate a lot of ‘likes’ on social media (I mean, really, you should see my Klout Score!), they do little to sway the incessant prodding of the Holy Spirit.

 Here’s my Struggle: I feel God wants to use me in a mighty way in full-time ministry and it’s time to take bold action.

But I don’t wanna’.

 Honestly, I wear my faith louder than most, but I believe that I am compelled & commanded to do even more. From time to time I post boldly of my faith to social media, but only as a release valve when the pressure of conviction rises to high to bear.  Fact is, I want to be liked .

 I remember , just yesterday, wondering if I would ever just obediently step back into my role as a pastor because it was the right thing to do.

If history has proven anything it’s that I am a stubborn, sloth-like learner; disobedient & down right defiant at times.  I’m a bride who must be swooned and won…again & again; a whore at times.

24hrs ago I pictured myself being called to do the funeral of one of my teens from back in my days of ministry.  “That might jolt me back into the pulpit.”, I thought. God forbid it would take that for me to simply be obedient.

 -And then, this morning, I learned that T.J. died.

-And I missed a call at 11pm last night from a spiritual mentor who could only be calling me for one reason.

-And I awoke to a totally unrelated message that hung, suspended in my inbox from a young man that simply read:

 “Hey, I need help.  Been away for too long…realized the only thing I need is Jesus cause nothing else is working. Deep valleys give way to low tides.”

 

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So I ask myself now: What does, ‘entering back into the ministry’, even mean?

 

I think I’ll start with just taking action on these 3 things…Who knows…

Maybe I’m in full-time ministry already and only just now realized it.

 

rob

How I Met Your Mother – Blended Family Edition

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